Ipswich mother and baby housing plan thwarted after it was mistaken for criminals’ hostel
A move to build temporary housing for mothers and babies in Ipswich is destined to be shelved as residents mistakenly fear it is intended to house criminals.
More than 100 people and businesses in the Dales Road area are said to have objected to a planning application before the borough council relating to 2 Wharfedale Road.
Many believe the attempt to convert the property from an office into a 25-bedroom house of multiple occupancy (HMO) could end up with drug dealers and even sex offenders living in their neighbourhood and near to Dale Hall Primary School.
However the man who made the application, Simon Brody managing director of Cube Developments, has insisted their concerns are completely unfounded.
The east London firm’s response came after a leaflet claiming ‘Criminals could soon be living in your neighbourhood! You must act now’ began circulating in the area.
The leaflet also states ‘ THIS COULD MEAN sex offenders, drug dealers, burglars and robbers LIVING NEAR YOU SOON’.
A disappointed Mr Brody said he believes the misunderstanding will lead to the conversion plan being thrown out.
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He said: “It is for mothers and babies’ temporary accommodation. It couldn’t be more opposite (from what people are thinking).
“The application is going to be refused as far as I’m aware because there has been a petition.
“We are not going to fight a losing battle. We are not going to upset anybody.”
“There is a lot of empty space in Ipswich. We are going to look for another property that is not going to upset anyone.
“Temporary accommodation is such a massively desperate requirement in Ipswich, Colchester and the surrounding areas.”
Mr Brody insisted his company’s social housing conversions were treated as an investment. He said similar properties it owned were clean and well maintained.
The misunderstanding occurred after a planning application was submitted to Ipswich Borough Council last month.
Scant details were given other than the intention to convert the existing building from an office to a HMO with 25 bedrooms.
Rumours then spread about what the premises would be intended for.
David Goldsmith, a councillor for the Castle Hill ward, is due to represent his constituents at the planning meeting.
He said: “There’s been a lot of scaremongering. I shall speak against it on behalf of the residents. The residents have asked me to do so. But it being a bail hostel or anything like that is not on the application.”
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: “We are unable to comment on this application until the planning committee meets later this spring and a decision is made.”